President Steenkamp's video message: Friday, April 17

April 16, 2020
Philip Steenkamp, PhD
President Steenkamp taking a selfie in front of a floral painting

Hello everybody,

I hope you got some time to relax this last long weekend and enjoy the spectacular weather we’re having.

With spring in full bloom, I’m really missing the gardens at Royal Roads University.

But I know the gardeners and groundskeepers are working really hard to make sure they look spectacular so we can enjoy them when we return.

This week, I want to provide you with a few updates.

First, I want to thank IT, Customer Services and also the Operations teams for the great work they’ve been doing in providing people with access to computer equipment, to office equipment and to furniture.

There have been over 450 requests and I know they have followed up on 150 to date.

So please be patient; I know they are working in priority order.

Second, I would ask any of you who are coming to campus for any reason to sign in and out of buildings that are open. This is really important so Security can keep track of activity but also so our custodians can target areas to clean. Both of these teams are doing a really good job at keeping us all safe.

Third, given that it is our commitment to keep as many people as possible employed through this emergency, we have put in place a process to redeploy people whose work has been disrupted to work on other priority projects. Human Resources is providing line managers with details on this process. And if you have questions, please talk to your supervisors.

It’s becoming clear that the current level of restrictions is going to be in place for at least another few weeks and I’m assuming some level of restriction is going to be in place for the months ahead and probably until the end of the year.

For this reason, I’m working hard with the senior leadership team and with faculty to develop some likely scenarios we can use to inform our planning in the year ahead. I will be giving you more details about this next week and in the weeks that follow. 

For now, it’s really important that we continue to follow the advice and the direction of Dr. Bonnie Henry in order to continue to flatten the curve of COVID-19 transmission.

On another note, I thought I would share with you some of the reading I have been doing over these last few weeks.

The first book I would like to talk about is Yuval Harari’s book 21 Lessons for the 21st Century. This is a gripping, if sobering, account of the challenges we are all facing right now. Whether it be the climate crisis, economic and technological disruption, inequality, conflict, terrorism, fake news – he covers it all. But he’s also optimistic and he’s hopeful. The book is a call for us to build resilience in order to confront these challenges.

Another book I have been re-reading is Patti Smith’s book Just Kids. Patti Smith is a famous musician and artist and this is the story of her life with the photographer Robert Mapplethorpe in New York city in the late 1960s and 1970s. In it, she brilliantly evokes that time and that place – that collision and explosion of art and poetry and music and politics. It is an incredibly poignant thing to read right now, given what’s happening in New York city. 

On lighter note and more fun note, is this book: Stone Me: The Wit and Wisdom of Keith Richards. Keith Richards, of course, is the famous Rolling Stones guitarist. This is a collection of his sayings and aphorisms. In it, he covers everything from the Rolling Stones to his relationship with Mick Jagger to sex, drugs and rock and roll, of course, and life itself. It’s just a fun read to take your mind off what’s going on right now.

On that note, take care, stay safe and have a great weekend.